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Disposal of unexploded WWII Ordnance

Could still be the big bang theory for parts of Poland, given the proximity to the LNG terminal.

'Navy divers on Monday began a five-day operation to defuse the largest unexploded World War Two bomb ever found in Poland, forcing more than 750 people to evacuate their homes.

'Dubbed the “earthquake” bomb, the Tallboy bomb was used by Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and weighs nearly 5,400 kg, including 2,400 kg of explosive, the Navy said on its Facebook account.

'The bomb was found in the Piast Canal which connects the Baltic Sea with the Oder River, and was dropped by the RAF in 1945 in an attack on the German cruiser Lutzow.

'The site is near the town of Swinoujscie in northwest Poland where a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal was opened in 2016.

“There will be no deliveries while the bomb is being neutralised,” a spokeswoman at site operator Gaz-System said, adding the timing of the defusing of the bomb had been agreed between the firm, the Navy and local authorities.

“We dug up the moving part of the bomb, the middle part the bomb was left, as planned, so that the debris around it would keep the bomb in a fixed place, so that it would not move and the fuses would not be triggered,” Michal Jodloski from the 12th Minesweeper Squadron of the 8th Coastal Defense Flotilla told private broadcaster TVN 24.

'On Monday 751 people had to be evacuated from the area, local media reported.

“We are leaving for this week. We are afraid. The children should go to school and they would have to go past it every day, so there is a bit of fear,” a local resident named Radoslaw told TVN24.


 

Allegedly, it blew up 'to plan',

'The detonation on Tuesday concluded the operation to remove the dangerous 5.4-tonne Tallboy bomb at the bottom of a channel in Świnoujście, a Baltic port city in the far northwest of Poland. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

'Lieutenant Commander Grzegorz Lewandowski a spokesman for the Polish Navy's 8th Coastal Defence Flotilla based in Świnoujście, said the bomb had been neutralised and would not pose any more threats. He added that all of the military divers were outside the danger zone.

'According to witnesses, the explosion was briefly felt near the island of Karsibor. However, there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to infrastructure.

'The five-tonne device, nicknamed 'Tallboy' and also known as an 'earthquake bomb,' was dropped by the Royal Air Force in an attack on a Nazi warship in 1945. It was discovered last year during dredging close to the port city of Świnoujście. The bombs were designed to explode underground next to a target, triggering shock waves that would cause destruction. Until the unexploded bomb was found, it was believed that all such devices dropped on the German ship had exploded.

'The Tallboy bomb discovered in Świnoujście had a length of 6.44 metres and weighed 5.4 tonnes. It contained 2.4 tonnes of explosives, equivalent to approximately 3.6 tonnes of TNT.

'Preparations for the neutralisation of the bomb, referred to as the largest of its kind in Europe and possibly also in the world, lasted from September last year. In addition, it was necessary, among other precautions, to establish a security zone in the area and suspend all traffic in the port during the high-risk operation.


 
de_ww2_location-of-lutzow_0001.jpg


This map shows where Lützow was moored at the time of the attack. Note that Swinemünde/Świnoujście is just off the top of the map. Apparently the attack was requested by the Soviets as they were worried by the potential effect that the ship's firepower would have on their operations.

The attack took place on 16 April 1945 between 17:15 and 17:55 after being delayed from 13 April and 15 April due to heavy cloud over the target. 15 of the 18 Lancasters of 617 Sqn on the mission managed to drop 7 Tallboys and several 1,000-pounder bombs. Lützow was only hit by 3 of the 1,000-pounders one of which destroyed the foremast together with the radar antenna and other EW equipment mounted on it; the other 2 failed to explode. One of the Tallboys exploded close to the ship on the port-side causing a 10 m long rip in the hull which allowed around 1,800 tons of water to enter the ship which left it down at the stern (grounded on the seabed) and listing 7 degrees.

During the next few days the leak was sealed and sufficient water pumped out so the ship was upright. The 2 UXOs were rendered safe and electrical power restored. This allowed the forward turret (with 3 x 28 cm guns) and three 15 cm guns on the starboard-side to be prepared for fire missions. All AA guns were removed, some of which were then installed on the destroyers Z 33 and Z 34. The rest were mounted on lorries and with half of the crew (together with surplus crew from other ships) were formed into the "Flotten-Flak-Regiment" - which then cheerfully drove off to Neubrandenburg to take on the Red Army.

On 28 April 1945 the 28 cm guns commenced firing against the Soviet units attacking Pasewalk 42 km away. Later, together with the15 cm guns they fired at the Soviet units crossing the Dievenow River. On 3 May 1945 after firing 350 28 cm rounds and several hundred 15 cm rounds the ship was scuttled as the Red Army had reached Kaseburg on the eastern bank of the river.

SOURCE:

Schneider, Gerd-Dietrich. "Plattbugkreuzer": Artillerieträger der Marine im Einsatz. Verlag ES Mittler & Sohn, Hamburg, 1998. ISBN 3-8132-0555-X
*Pages 128 (map), 144-46*

de_ww2_uboat-harbour-kaseburg_0001.jpg


This is the former U-Boot/Schnellboot harbour in the middle of the above map. It is now used as a marina.
 
Apparently this is the raid where the bomb was dropped. Supposedly you can see the splash from this bomb landing but no explosion from it.

 
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4(T)

LE
Apparently this is the raid where the bomb was dropped. Supposedly you can see the splash from this bomb landing but no explosion from it.



Surprisingly accurate bombing from that altitude. 7 or 8 landing within +/- one ship's size in just those few seconds.

The RAF had really upped their game by that stage of the war.
 
Surprisingly accurate bombing from that altitude. 7 or 8 landing within +/- one ship's size in just those few seconds.

The RAF had really upped their game by that stage of the war.

I think it was only a few squadrons (617 under Cheshire being one of them). After the scandal of the Butt Report, Harris recognised that ‘area bombing’ was really the only target they could realistically achieve. He resisted the call for pathfinders at first and he was never a fan of ‘panacea’ targets as he called them, even after the ‘44 Transportation Plan had been a success.

Even the extended use of pathfinders, aerial target markers, H2S etc were only really ways of ensuring the ‘Main Force’ hit the city they were aiming at.

It’s one of the enduring controversies of the war of course, especially after Dresden.

IMHO Raids like this one shows what they ‘could’ do, rather than what they normally did.
 
Surprisingly accurate bombing from that altitude. 7 or 8 landing within +/- one ship's size in just those few seconds.

The RAF had really upped their game by that stage of the war.
617 and, IIRC, 619 squadrons formed a group and were trained like crazy on SABS. The result was they could bomb accurately. This was because they need a considerable degree of precision to put the Tallboys and Grand Slam's were they were needed. Equally, both bombs were very expensive and difficult to make with a low production. To the extent that the crews were ordered to bring the bombs back unless they got a good target solution (At least if you believe the Brickhill book...).
 
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Equally, both bombs were very expensive and difficult to make with a low production. To the extent that the crews were ordered to bring the bombs back unless they got a good target solution (At least if you believe the Brickhill book...).
I wonder how many aircrew thought landing back at base with a 5 ton bomb still attached and a possible damaged aircraft, was a good idea!?
 

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